Preventing Suspension and Expulsion in Early Education and Care Programs

Young child throwing a large Lego style block

What are Suspension and Expulsion in Early Education and Care Programs?

Suspension is when a child is not allowed to attend an early learning and care program for a period of time. 

Expulsion is the permanent removal of a child from a child care setting.

It may be surprising that children are sometimes suspended or expelled from a child care program because of their behavior. Supporting a child’s social and emotional development can help prevent suspension and expulsion.

Why is prevention of suspension and expulsion important?

This video from Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings talks about the issue and discusses some solutions.

How can families and providers prevent suspension and expulsion?

  • Read the state guidelines about suspension and expulsion in early childhood. Talk to your child care provider about their policy. Ask questions about the policy if you don’t understand. 
  • Discuss the child’s interests, needs, sleep routines, and important life changes.
  • Talk about challenging behavior and develop a consistent response to these behaviors for home and child care.
  • Work together to set goals to support the child’s social, emotional, and behavioral needs.
  • Follow up to see how the child is doing and if any changes are needed to offer support.

What can I do if my child is asked to leave a program?

  • Early childhood programs are strongly encouraged to establish policies to eliminate or limit expulsion and suspension. Read your child care provider’s policy about suspension and expulsion. 
  • If you agree that it is best for your child to attend another program, focus on creating a smooth transition.
  • If you suspect your child may have a developmental delay, disability, or mental health concern, ask where your child can get an evaluation. 
  • Let your child’s doctor know about the transition, in case your child can benefit from screenings or evaluations.


Zero to Three: Challenging Behaviors

Understanding and Eliminating Expulsion in Early Childhood Programs

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 0-8 Social and Emotional Toolkit

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) Family Tools

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) Suspension and Expulsion in Early Childhood Page

Charlevoix/Emmit/Northern Antrim Great Start Collaborative’s What makes your family strong (Protective Factors)